On this week’s episode of CinemAddicts, we review three new films coming out on Friday: The Meddler, Elvis & Nixon, and A Hologram For The King.
Set in Los Angeles and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), The Meddler centers on Marnie, a widow who continues to meddle in her daughter Lori’s (Rose Byrne) life. Her intrusive but loving behavior actually ends up being a good thing for Lori, a successful TV writer whose personal life is a shambles after breaking up with her actor/boyfriend (Jason Ritter).
Kevin Spacey is U.S. President Richard Nixon and Michael Shannon is Elvis Presley in Elvis & Nixon, a narrative which centers on the December 1970 meeting between the two iconic figures. The project also stars Alex Pettyfer and Colin Hanks.
Colin’s dad Tom Hanks is front and center with A Hologram for the King, a comedy/drama that’s adapted from Dave Eggers’ novel. The storyline centers on Alan (Hanks), a businessman who travels to Saudi Arabia in hopes of closing a huge deal that will hopefully change his life. Sarita Choudhury and Alexander Black co-star in the film, which reunites Hanks with Cloud Atlas director Tom Tykwer.
The TCM Classic Film Festival is just around the corner, and actress Faye Dunaway will make an appearance at the fest for a screening of Network. Released in 1976, the Sidney Lumet directed feature garnered three acting Oscars (Dunaway, Peter Finch, Beatrice Straight), with Best Screenplay honors going to Paddy Chayefsky.
“Faye Dunaway has had an extraordinarily successful career spanning nearly six decades, including winning the Academy Award for Network and working alongside some of the best in the industry such as Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Redford, said TCM host Robert Osborne. “She is one of the great beauties and magical leading ladies of film. It’s going to be a great treat for our fans to hear from her first hand about her extraordinary life and career.”
Other stars scheduled to discuss attend screenings of their work at the TCM Classic Film Festival include Anna Karina (Band of Outsiders), John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood), Carl Reiner (Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid), Elliott Gould (M*A*S*H), Eva Marie Saint (The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming). The 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival takes place in Hollywood May 28-April 1.
The Meddler is a comedy whose heart and soul comes straight from writer/director Lorene Scafaria. With Seeking a Friend for the End of the World she explored the search for companionship during the end of days, and though The Meddler isn’t set within an apocalyptic environment, its narrative is just as ambitious.
It’s been two years since her husband’s passing, and Marnie (Susan Sarandon) still hasn’t fully processed the tragedy. Instead of finalizing where to keep or her loved one’s ashes (his family lives in New Jersey), she busies herself by eagerly adjusting to life in Los Angeles and “meddling” in her daughter Lori’s (Rose Byrne) affairs. Lori is a highly successful TV writer who’s working on a new pilot, and though her career is on the upswing, her personal life is on the rocks (she still harbors feelings for her ex-boyfriend, played by Jason Ritter).
When she’s not consoling her daughter or dropping by for an unexpected visit, Marnie hangs out at the Grove, a beautiful outdoor shopping center where many Angelenos and tourists congregate. There she befriends Freddy (Jerrod Carmichael), an Apple Store employee who helps her with iPhone questions and, thanks to Marnie’s refreshingly over friendly nature, becomes a significant part of her life.
Slowly but surely, Marnie builds a new family in Los Angeles, giving a supremely generous gift to one of Lori’s friends (Saturday Night Live’sCecily Strong) and befriending Zipper (J.K. Simmons), a retired cop who raises chickens out in Topanga Canyon. Since Lori is way too busy for and, at times, irritated by her mother, Marnie redirects her energy with this trio of relative strangers.
In playing Marnie, Sarandon thankfully doesn’t go for a broad, caricature based portrayal of a helicopter mom. Rather, she opts for a much more subtle approach, infusing The Meddler with a grounded sense of reality within the more film’s more outrageous comedic moments (without giving too much away, there’s a testicle punching scene that garnered a chuckle). Another reason for The Meddler’s sense of authenticity is it’s inspired by Scafaria’s own parents, as her mother also moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles to Los Angeles after her father’s death.
With all its stereotypical eccentricities, Los Angeles, like any big city, can be a very lonely place. Finding your own home, especially if its seemingly tucked away in a corner, is one way to navigate through an intimidating metropolis, and Scafaria effectively showcases the more intimate aspects of the City of Angels. The movie is also a showcase for Sarandon who gives one of her most appealing and affecting performances to date.
Losing a loved one is an inevitability, and how Marnie gradually finds her own footing by reaching out to others is, thanks to grade-A writing and wonderful work from a talented ensemble, a sublime experience. With Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and The Meddler,Lorene Scafaria introduces us to people who continue to persevere through their respective storms with a little love and hope to guide their way. Marnie’s generous spirit is downright admirable and infectious, and by the film’s closing moments don’t be surprised if you do a little meddling of your own.
The Meddler (PG-13, 103 minutes) opens in New York and Los Angeles Friday, April 22.
The FOX series Gotham, a series that’s delightfully filled with film noir flourishes, is one of the most underrated shows on television. The origin story focuses on a young Bruce Wayne who eventually becomes Batman and how the legendary Batman villains came to be. Along with the great acting and writing, it’s the visually arresting look of the show and high production values which gives Gotham its unique flavor.
Ben McKenzie, who plays Jim Gordon, explains why Gotham is one of the most cinematic-looking programs on television
Captain America: Civil War is a marked departure for the titular character (Chris Evans). As witnessed in The Avengers and the previous Captain America installments, our patriotic hero has always gone above and beyond the call of duty. With this latest installment, however, Cap gets into a potentially tragic disagreement with Iron Man on how “Earth’s mightiest heroes” should conduct themselves.
Evans talked about what qualities he admires about Captain America.”What he stands for is something ubiquitous across the world, what he believes in, honor, morality and values, that’s something you can find anywhere but in terms of who he’s been throughout the arc of his character,” said Evans, who made his feature directing debut with the romantic drama Before We Go. “He’s always kind of fought for the greater good. He’s always put the needs of the masses before his own desire.”
Click on the media bar below to hear why Chris Evans doesn’t feel as much pressure as his collaborators when making Captain America: Civil War.
Captain America: Civil War, co-starring Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr., opens nationwide May 6.